So I was asked one day to speak to a group of graduate students from George Washington University about how we at the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corp. (WCTC) use our website to reach out to potential/future visitors and also to talk about Web 2.0 and its applications on tourism. I remember being asked this question on a live stream of a Web Managers Round Table in 2007 during a sitdown Q&A session with Peter Corbett.
So after showing the graduate students the website, we started talking about the applications of Web 2.0 in reaching out to potential tourists. One thing that was raised was that nowhere on the site was there any resemblance of these tools. It’s quite interesting that people think that using Web 2.0 would be a part of any site. I really don’t think that to qualify as having web 2.0 in your marketing plan is that it appears directly on your site is valid. If you’re going to allow for a web 2.0 experience, you can employ third-party software.
Is it necessary for you to program Twitter to interface with your website/content management system? No. You can place a widget badge on your website to show that you’re on Twitter and that’ll have people signing up to find out more. Does web 2.0 need to be front and center? I think people are believing web 2.0 as something that has to be seen. But it doesn’t…not only on a website. Flickr is a pretty good example of web 2.0. Why can’t people understand that Flickr is a good way to communicate with folks and have people share photos of their trips with like-minded people and not have it on their website? Should we be subjected to creating an application on our own when there is one perfectly established and subscribed to by millions of users? Recreating the wheel is often times hazardous and expensive to a project’s health.
Web 2.0 is definitely a powerful mechanism to get people to your destination, regardless of whether you’re a hotel, attraction, restaurant, or destination. Allowing the user to contribute something to the conversation about a topic is a great thing and doing it on your site or through another conduit should be sufficient enough. However, let’s not forget that there are many ways to reach out to different markets and just having the interaction solely on your website should not be a deciding factor of moving forward with 2.0.